Minlaton to Bendigo 2008

18 January. On the way again Port Victoria, Moonta. Moonta was the surprise of the day. Still a lot of old sandstone buildings. It was obviously a very prosperous place in the late 1800s. Via Wallaroo and Kadina to Kapunda. All the little places are a big surprise. A lot of old sandstone buildings are still being used. Kapunda is a very good example. The riches in this area started with copper mining which is closed now. Mainly grain but the first vineyards are starting to appear.
On the way to Kapunda we saw 20 foxes strung to a fence. You find signs everywhere that bait is set out to kill them but we did not see any foxes. Plenty of rabbits dead and alive.

     Small selection of dead foxes tied to a fence.       Kapunda institute and Uniting Church. Now a museum.
The starting of the bus is playing up again and decided to head for Adelaide to get it sorted out. There is a long weekend so the appointment is for Tuesday. This gives us time to see more of the city. Visited the markets and museum. We had been to Semaphore before and decided to spend the night there. In all the information we picked up from the information centre was information about the tour down under. A 6 day bicycle ride around Adelaide. We were able to park the bus along the roadside where the start was. We soaked up all the activities. The weather was just right. Late afternoon back to Semaphore.

   Semaphore beach front.   Luckily no high rise buildings.               Promotion for the Tour Down Under.
25 January. Went to Port Adelaide to visit the markets after that to  Glenelg and walked along the beach. Saw the movie Australia which was a bit of a tearjerker but it  affected Susan so much that we had to go to the hospital for chest pains. Three hours, X rays and blood test later we were outside again with no answer of why it happened. We spend the night in the middle of Adelaide because we wanted to see the free Australia Day concert with Lee Kernighan and others.
26 January Australia Day. Spend all day in the park. 41 degrees and no shade. Still the day went quickly. We spend another night at semaphore. Beautiful sunset.

            Port Adelaide market.                                                          Lee Kernighan Australia Day concert.
27 Jan. Appointment with an auto electrician but he could not do anything. Went to the art museum. Nice and cool inside. The temperature is slowly creeping up to 44 degrees. Had a swim in a salt lake and spend the time there. This is the first night where it stayed warm. Previously it cooled down during the night. The night before someone drowned where we were swimming. Probably too much fire water after the Australia day celebrations.
28 Jan. Appointment with a diesel mechanic. The bus is using a bit too much diesel the last month. The temperature is really hotting up. 46 degrees today. The hottest in 70 years and the third hottest on record. It continues all this and next week.
It ended up to be the hottest above fourty in exactly 100 years. Wanted to use the air-conditioning for the first time and found out that it is broken. Ran around all day to get it fixed but everybody is too busy.

         Semaphore jetty.                                       View from the bus at West Lake. The white house is Leyton Hewit's house and for sale. $4 mill.

2 February. After a bit of shopping we decided to go see a bit more of the surrounds of Adelaide. The temperature is slowly dropping. In to the Adelaide Hills and Mount Lofty. Here you have a birds eye view of Adelaide. It was a bit hazy. After this to Hahndorf being a Monday it was not very busy. The Dutch shop we visited is no more and the shop with all the different varieties of sausages we could not find either. Anneke the opshop was closed.  Further north we bypassed the chocolate factory and stopped in Lobethal for the night.  Next day to the big rocking horse and the national automobile museum. All during the morning the motor started to pick up speed without warning and in Williamstown it stopped altogether. The clutch had given up. The nearest garage could not do the job but were very helpful in finding a workshop that could. We only had an hour to wait and a big tow truck arrived which took us to Murray Bridge. We went faster on the back of the truck than I have ever done on the road. Well over 100KH.








        Gumeracha Rocking horse.
                      History repeats itself. We end up on the back of a truck.

4 February. When we arrived in Murray Bridge at the garage it was closed and we spend the night in front of it. Next day they pulled the gearbox out and ordered the parts. They did not fit. The whole job could be finished in one day if the parts were available. But they turned out to be a problem and several trips had to be made to Adelaide to obtain the correct parts.
6 February. The last part arrived and the bus is ready by 4PM. All this time we stayed with Ken and Lyn Kuchel which we met at a motorhome chapter meeting a few weeks previous. They put up with us for three days which made the whole experience enjoyable despite the fact that the mechanical bill was severe.  On Friday afternoon we left for Mannum. Here we camped at the Murray River's edge. The temperature has gone up again and even at 10PM it is still 38 degrees in the bus. The fans we bought in Adelaide are working overtime. When we drove back to Adelaide to pick up Susan's new glasses the wind was very hot and very strong. There were dust storms everywhere. As it turned out there were severe bushfires near Melbourne where we are heading now. It was just sheer luck no derailed person started a fire near where we were. We spend another night at West Lakes.
8 February. Watched canoe races all morning and drove to Strathalbyn. Susan was in her element. There were 8 antique shops which apart from op shops she is always interested in. We will be going back to Whyalla as we have paid our fees for the motorhome rally at the end of March.

                     Crossing the Murray River at Wellington.                  Eaten by the Kingston lobster.
9 February. Exploring the Coorong National Park. This is a very narrow strip of coastline which stretches for 150 KM and has a narrow band of dunes in front of it creating a salt water lake where a lot of birds nest. We saw a lot of pelicans but to drive to the northern tip called Pelican Point the road was too badly corrugated and we drove back. Spend the night in the park. Next day explored more of the park till the southern tip in Kingston. There were supposed to be a few official free camps according to our book but they displayed no camping signs everywhere. The weather is still overcast and chilly. We have our jumpers on all day.

                                                                      Robe coastline
10 February. Spend all day in Robe. this is a typical coastal tourist town. We saw more tourists here than locals. Drove inland towards Naracoorte. Visited the local museum. The area relies on sheep but more and more are putting in vineyards.
Nearby is the Naracoorte National Park which has an extensive cave system. The caves were not very interesting but they found a lot of fossils here and the diggings are still in progress which was interesting. Our National Park pass get's a real workout here. The campground is the most luxurious for a NP. Electricity and hot showers. Normal price $26 a night but with our pass free. The pass only cost $45 for 2 month.
14 February. Next National Park Bool Lagoon. After advice from people who had been there because of the drought there is no water in the lake and therefore no birdlife.

Naracoorte cave diggings. Only 500 000 years  old.
                                            Wynnes winery Coonawarra.

We passed Coonawarra which is a well known wine area. There was a competition of Boulle happening.
Stopped of at Beachport where we spend all day overlooking the ocean. Next day to Millicent. The place is nearly deserted apart from a small craft market. Drove to the the Canunda National Park.
16 February. The second biggest city in South Australia. Mount Gambier. The biggest attraction are the volcanic lakes especially the Blue Lake. We took a tour to the pump station. The lake is the water supply for Mount Gambier. Drove around all the craters and left for Port Mc. Donnnell. This is a sleepy seaside town. The coast is rugged in places. They also promote a Fairy Penguin colony. When I had a look at the place where they come in at night anybody could go there and I found 8 dead penguins on the beach. They should have prevented people from going there. We spend the night at the beach. There is nothing better than waking up and looking over the ocean. This is the first time that someone threw something on the roof. When we shifted house another mishap with the bumper bar and another ding in it. When I stopped suddenly Susan fell and has bruises all over. She will have those souvenirs for a while.

                          Mount Gambier. The Blue Lake.                     Mount Gambier garden in a vulcano.

                    A lot of towns have murals like this one. The good side of Port Mc Donnell.      The ugly side. Dead Fairy Penguin.
18 February. We have entered Victoria. Portland is a fairly large town with big industries. Aluminium smelter, woodchip export. We got here late in the afternoon and had dinner in a Chinese/Taiwanese restaurant. Next day explored around Portland did the shopping and the bus had it's first wash in a carwash. It looks like new again.

     Portland petrified forest with modern technology in the background.                    Great Ocean Road The arch.
19 February. The local chapter of the motorhome club had a get together in the forest near Portland. There were only three motorhomes but we had a  very pleasant weekend. 23 Feb.  Port Fairy. Spend half a day parked in the harbour before moving on to Warrnambool. Visited Flagstaff hill, and finally had the starting problem fixed. Susan happy again. Our first Aldi store in a year. Nearly as good as an opshop.
25 February. Great Ocean road and the spectacular coastline. But we visited the cheese factory in Allansford first. We did a lot of walking. We have been here twice before but the scenery is still spectacular. Spend the night in Otway National Park.

         Susan with two of the twelve apostles in the background.                  Valley View.  Apollo Bay.
26 February. One day in Apollo Bay with Ria. The bus could not make it up the driveway. Too steep. It is always nice to be in Apollo Bay. We only stayed one night and off to Anakie and the Goedegebuur family. The house extensions we started two years ago have progressed very well and the new lounge/dining/kitchen is in full use.
2 March. Another diesel workshop because the bus is using too much fuel. The weather is heating up again and the local school children have been told to stay home because of a bushfire thread. But the weather changes quickly up here. In the week we have been here hot, very cold and rain. Susan helped out with the domestic chores and I did some demolishing of the house where the new master bedroom goes and digging for the foundations.
10 March. The brakes started to leak and in to the garage. This will take three days and we will be staying with far related family from Susan in Geelong. Arie and Ria Bakker.

         Arie and Ria Bakker Geelong.                         Ellen, Susan, Ineke and Sylvia Goedegebuur in Anakie.
13 March. Bus fixed and on the road again. Late afternoon arrive in Taradale, Gay and Brian Buchanan have been living here for 5 years. The trees have grown and there are a few alpacas in the paddock. They welcomed the rain we brought with us. It had not rained since December. We had a pleasant two days here. In Castlemaine are a lot of second hand stores but one stands out, The Renovators Warehouse. Sunday to a gathering of Dutch people with Ineke de Rijke. On Sunday our first sighting of the bushfire destruction around Bendigo. It is amazing to see some houses survive and the one next to it only a pile of ashes. Also visited a large old pottery factory with ancient enormous kilns.

   Brian and Gabriel Buchanan with their alpacas                             The Renovators warehouse Castlemaine.

Ineke de Rijke in Bendigo being pampered by Susan.